Monday, September 29, 2014

Film Review: YellowBrickRoad (2010)

YellowBrickRoad (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...this is one road you should avoid."

In 1940, the entire population of Friar walked up a mountain trail into the wilderness and ended up slaughter and disappeared. Now, a group of researchers recreate the event and attempt to solve the mystery...

YellowBrickRoad starts off with a promising premise. An entire population walks into the wilderness and suffer mysterious deaths. It sets up a great mystery with endless possibilities. Unfortunately, it doesn't explore these opportunities. Instead, YellowBrickRoad continues to follow this group as they aimlessly wander the woods, eat and drink, bicker and fight, and get lost. Eventually, they start hearing music in the woods, which is initially interesting, but it never builds up on that idea. Then, they go crazy and madness ensues. The story drags to a mediocre ending; it's open for interpretation, like most of the movie, but its also bland and too ambiguous.

YellowBrickRoad is a disappointment. The story is initially interesting, but it never capitalizes on the original idea. Instead, the film takes a more "metaphorical" route and that would've been fine if it was executed properly, but it's not. It hits you over the head with obvious "metaphors" over and over like a child shouting for attention. On that point, the film further suffers from being dreadfully repetitive. If that's not enough, the film is also dreadfully slow-paced; there is no burn or atmosphere to help the pace, either. Combine the repetitiveness and the slow-pace with a longwinded and uneventful plot and you have a boring film. And I must stress, it's booooring -- with that many o's, you can guess its boring, right? There was one gory scene in this film, but it comes off as laughably out of place. Otherwise, there isn't a shred of horror.

The acting was decent. Some of the castmates were duds, but it's more than tolerable. The cinematography is good; the film is shot competently. I like the use of audio in the film; the music in the woods is the one creative aspect of the film. The most notable technical flaws come from the writing/directing pair of Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton -- they seem too concerned with delivering a symbolic/metaphoric film than an entertaining movie. The writing sloppy, the direction lacks conviction and originality, and there is a severe lack of anything horror.

Overall, YellowBrickRoad started off as a promising horror/mystery, but it quickly disappoints. This is one of those rare films that suffers from trying way too hard. It's not scary, it's unnecessarily slow, it's uneventful, and the runtime is bloated -- this is a poisonous combination for any film. And, this is one road you should avoid.

Score: 2/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and gore.

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